China is not only the most populated country in the world. China is also a country where billionaires are plentiful. According to Forbes, there are 115 billionaires living in China. More of them can be found only in the USA. The majority of the Chinese do not seem to be thrilled with the news. The Chinese authorities decided to take a direct action against the social stratification and ban the advertising of luxury goods.
The economic growth of China has led to certain saddening consequences. The number of wealthy individuals in the country increased by 47 percent last year. However, as many as 150 million people live for less than one dollar a day, Chinese officials acknowledge.
The authorities of Beijing have recently decided to ban the advertising of luxury goods in the capital not to hurt those who can never afford diamonds and pearls. The billboards displaying such words as "elite," luxury", "royal", etc can only foster feelings of hatred among the poor, Chinese officials believe.
It is easy to understand the Chinese authorities. The growing number of the poor and the rich seriously affected the situation inside the country. Last year, a wave of mass killings shocked the country. A number of gruesome attacks on elementary schools and kindergartens were committed: mentally unbalanced individuals wielding hammers of knives attacked everyone on their way.
In 2009, 30,000 workers of a steel-casting factory organized an action of protest which ended with a fight with the police and the killing of a factory supervisor. The workers were concerned that the lynched supervisor was receiving three million yuans a year ($483,000), whereas the average pension of a factory worker was not more than 200 yuans a month.
Incidents like those occur as a result of the social stratification in China, experts say. A small group of people get rich at the time when the majority of the huge country have to live in poverty.
The number of crimes and mental disorders has been growing among the citizens of China steadily during the recent years. Many of those crimes are based on social instability: stresses, fears to lose jobs and homes, poor living conditions, the absence of elementary comfort, etc. This phenomenon is a side effect of the speedy economic development of the country, experts say.
The Chinese government even put forward an idea to slow down the economic development to reduce the social tension. The released assets would then be used to improve the living standards of Chinese peasants - 900 million people, or 75 percent of the population.
Noteworthy, Russia takes the third place, following the USA and China, on the number of billionaires. Forbes magazine says that the number of wealthy Russians increased by 30 percent. However, the average living wage in Russia in the 4th quarter of 2010 made up 5,902 rubles per capita ($200). By that state of things one shall assume that the Russian government should probably ban the advertising of luxury goods in the country as well.
The situation with the social stratification and the unequal distribution of earnings in Russia is not better than that in the Celestial Empire. The middle class, which is supposed to fill the abyss between luxury and poverty, does not really exist in Russia. If it does, a few may probably refer to themselves as such. Opinion polls show that only 35 percent of Russians categorize themselves as the middle class. Experts say that the real number of such people is much lower - seven percent. Over 20 million of Russians live below the poverty line.
According to various estimates, the income of an average representative of the Russian middle class is supposed to vary from 70,000 to 105,000 rubles a month ($2,300 and $3,500 respectively). Just show this number to someone living 300 kilometers from Moscow and look at his or her reaction.
Less than 20 percent of Russians believe that the people, who lead successful lives, managed to achieve that honestly. The remaining 80 percent believe that honor and profit lie not in one sack.
The difference between the West and the two mighty allies in the East - Russia and China - is enormous. In fact, it is not a difference, but an outright contrast